Good Summer

good

Good Summer Notes

I’m having a good summer this year. That is a bit unusual. I usually feel like summer is an endurance race. Last year was horrid, with terrible allergy problems, hives, and all manor of indignities like face swellings. I was broke as usual each summer. It lingered on endlessly.

Linda’s Summer Ebay Paintings

This year has been good. Spring lasted well into May and summer arrived as it should have in mid June. I have stayed indoors most of the time, so no allergy problems as yet.

Thanks to my friend Ron, the general manager at the local Michaels store, I have been lent the classroom there to teach now. I move my monthly classes there on Tuesday. This will be easier for my students and will free my Country Studio for my own use.

Abstract Scapes

I’ve been setting it up with all my easels out and ready to use. I have a station for acrylic/casein, and two easels for oils. I will only have to rearrange for my four parties each year. I moved all of my framing tools out into the studio and I have a drying station for small oil paintings with a fan on them 24/7.  At last, I am totally set up with efficiency in my studio. Now, if I could only clone myself I would get everything done.

This summer has even been good financially. People have actually bought art. That is almost unheard of for summer in my world. Shocking! I will actually make it through the summer without fear if this continues.

My precious new French bulldog puppy, Tucker (AKA Studio Dog) is a joy for me. He is beginning to grow up now, not quite as intense. He has a wonderful, sweet personality and is well on his way to becoming a fine adult in a few months. It was very hard to lose my dear Henry, and not a day goes by without missing him, but Tucker is the new joy in my life.

I have learned in my dotage to be entirely grateful for the life I now lead. After a stressful difficult life as a single mother, juggling a variety of jobs and doing art late into the night, I now have almost complete freedom to run my own career. I have a dream studio, a quiet life in the country with my nature trail, and lovely canvases to paint as I like. I am just about the luckiest artist I know. I could not do it without the lovely friends and collectors who continue to support my career. A deep and grateful salute to you all.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Tomato Salad

2 tablespoons fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 pints grape tomatoes
1/2 cup whole Kalamata olives
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  1. Chop basil (leaves only); halve tomatoes (if desired). Place in salad bowl: basil, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.
  2. Pour in oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Marinate at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rotate Work

rotate

Rotate Work Notes

I emphasize to any artist in a retail studio or gallery that to rotate work is key to sales. I never leave paintings up for more than a few months, unless they are the giants 40×60 for example. Those take from 2-4 years to sell for me, due to size and price point. It takes the buyer who has disposable income and large walls for those paintings, which means a long time in most cases. For anything 20×24 or smaller, I rotate frequently. Since I show in a few galleries and have two studios, it is fairly easy to have enough space for a large body of work. If you don’t have a large body of work, get in the habit of moving the paintings around the space frequently. A painting looks new in a new space. Rotate the paintings around your studio from room to room or wall to wall frequently, especially if you use your studio as a storefront to actually sell work.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Rotate work through your selection of frames too. Last week I changed our two paintings the same size into each other’s frames. They look completely new. I offer quite a variety of frames for my work. Back years ago, I tried to use a single, signature frame for my paintings, but my collectors didn’t like that idea. They like looking at a variety of choices. Sometimes they will come to the studio ask for a painting to be changed out of one frame to another, so it is important to offer them variety. Be sure to have basic hardware and tools to change out paintings into other frames easily.

Landscape Paintings

In years past, all galleries loved metallic frames, silver and gold. Happily, that is no longer the case in many galleries. I have gone to more rustic, distressed frames for many of my paintings, which seems to fit a more casual lifestyle for many collectors. It is important that collectors understand that it is the painting they are purchasing. The frame is usually ready made and not expensive for many artists. I keep a few high end frames for exhibition, but most are not. Frames get easily damaged and nicked when they are moved a lot and transported to various galleries and exhibits.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Easy Meatloaf

1 pound ground round

1 egg

2/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1 package of Lipton onion soup mix

pinch of thyme/parsley/black pepper

1/4 cup ketchup

Mix it all up and shape into a loaf pan. Bake at 350 until almost done. Top with a mixture of ketchup and steak sauce. Bake another 5 minutes.

 

Transitions Career

transitions

Transitions in Career Notes

Sometimes I think back in my career and wonder why I didn’t make transitions sooner. I have found though, that transitions happen when they are supposed to. Perhaps we haven’t the skill set needed yet for some changes. Perhaps we don’t have the resources financially or the relationships yet to make the proper transitions. I think we have the light bulb go off  when we either have to make changes or want to badly enough.

Marketing Can Be Fun

My big transition for this stage of career is redoing my Country Studio. I am investing in my future and slowly giving up my dependence on other galleries to sell my work. It will take a bit of time, but after 40 years of depending on the whim of dealers, it’s time to sell my own work. Who understands it and my mission more than I do?  What better place to spend most of my time than my own beloved studio and on Deer Woods Trail?

My friends, the Junk Yard Girls made the new signs for my Country Studio. They are so cute. What an improvement! I used to have a big ugly plastic sandwich board sign that I drug out to the front gate for parties. Now I have a beautiful, free standing permanent sign installed in front of my gate. It is very easy to see. They made one for the front of the studio building too.

I’ve been doing tiny Fairy House paintings on wood to install along Deer Woods Trail to entertain my trail walking visitors as they stroll along. The trail has been extended twice, and is lovely to stroll. I enjoy a walk there from September-May each year.

I believe my big transition will be successful, but it will take hard work and true effort to get visitors coming out to a rural studio. It will mean more effort toward online sales and better management of my online venues. I may or may not need to hire someone who is more skilled in e-commerce. I will eventually be able to build my collectors club with better pricing advantages for members. Most people don’t realize that artists have to pay steep commissions to art dealers. Sometimes up to 50-60% of a sale. Being self-represented allows me to make adjustments for my regular collectors through the club, giving them a good reason to make the drive out to my Country Studio.

Whatever your situation, transitions to your career can be very positive. If you are able to use creative ideas, you can overcome difficulties, improving your situation. You may not see solutions right away. It may take some time to get good ideas. You must believe that you will, to succeed. It took me about 7 years to see my solutions.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…….

Today’s Recipe

Corn Dip

1 (15.25-oz) can Southwest corn, drained
1 (14.75-oz) can no-salt-added cream-style corn
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
1 (1.2-oz) package extra spicy guacamole seasoning
12 oz processed cheese product
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Pretzels or chips, optional for serving

  1. Drain corn. Place all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl (except cheese and cilantro); whisk until blended. Cut cheese into small chunks; stir into corn mixture.
  2. Cover and microwave on HIGH 2 for minutes; stir, then heat 2–3 more minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.
  3. Chop cilantro; stir into dip. Serve with pretzels or chips.

 

Cooperative Efforts

cooperative

Cooperative Efforts Notes

 

I’ve been thinking about cooperative efforts for artists. I don’t seem to be gifted in that area. I’ve never played very well in the sand box. That is really the crux of many artists’ careers. We are competitive by nature. Too many bosses and not enough workers.

Landscape Paintings

I’ve had a lot of experience as a project manager in my long career. It is rather a thankless job. Most of the people in the project want to go their own way and many are unreliable. The project sounds like a good idea, unless they are asked to be accountable. It is great to be included as long as you don’t have to do anything but show up for the sale, food, and accolades. The idea of sacrifice and cooperative behavior is foreign to many artists. We are all about “me”.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I really want to be involved in activities but I don’t really like the people who are running the show or in charge. That is how many artists feel. I confess to feeling that way myself often. Artists are not a cooperative breed for the most part. We are cliquish by nature as well, which sets up misunderstanding, feelings of isolation, and inferiority between groups.

Frankly, I have always liked artists from other cities the best. I’ve never felt welcomed in my own arts community. My efforts at friendship and community with professional artists at home, have failed. I used to invite other artists to my studio, but most never showed up. I have artist friends here, mostly my students, but not most of the professional artists here. I’ve never quite fit into the cliques here. I hear this from artists all over the world about their own relationships with other local artists. This seems to be universal. Social media has helped to alleviate the feelings of isolation for me and others. I have made many wonderful artist friends from around the world.

I have no solution to this un-cooperative situation, seemingly everywhere. Musing about it helps to keep it on the possibility burner, but I have no ideas or answers. Cooperative efforts would be nice and it seems like they would definitely be beneficial for marketing and career success. I have one friend whom I often do projects with and share residencies. It is a great idea, but in terms of a group, who knows?

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

This is an old favorite for me.

Sweet and Sour Sausage

1 pound of little smoked sausages

1 jar grape jelly

1 jar crushed pineapples

1 jar chili sauce

1 small onion cut in bit sized pieces

1 bell pepper cut in chunks

Dash of hot sauce

Combine all in a crock pot and simmer for a couple of hours. Serve as appetizer or over rice as a meal.

Plein Air Stories

plein

 

 

Plein Air Stories

Since I got out to plein air paint last week, it got me thinking about my history with plein air painting and some of the crazy stuff about my humble beginnings thereof. Back in the day, I was the “Sanford and Son” of location painting. This was long before the fad showed up in Florida, with fancy equipment and everybody and his cousin calling themselves plein air painters. There were no paint outs then and no publicity. In fact I had never heard of the term plein air and I still think it is pretty hoity toity. I called it painting outside.

Home Page

It used to take me all day to load everything up in my old pick up truck. I had never heard of French easels or pochade boxes. I used an aluminum Stanrite easel from my studio. Not one of the little field easels, it was a regular studio easel. I had a folding card table, boxes of stuff and just about every paint I could bring. It was like moving into a new studio each time I decided to go out. I then met my painting pal David Johnson who would meet me out on location just to laugh, I swear. He had an old Julian easel and a back pack. We would plein  air paint about once a month together. To make matters worse, I would take huge canvases out to paint, making awful paintings. I did not know that alla prima work would be more successful in a small format. Once I did a hideous 30×40 inch painting in about four hours. I once drove over a hundred miles to paint and discovered I had left my paints at home.

Good Summer - image  on https://lindablondheim.com

My first actual formal paint out experience was in Ozello Florida. I had been painting on location for a few years. I wanted to know if there was anyone besides David and myself who painted outside in Florida. I went to an artist forum online and put out a call to artists to met me in Ozello ( Sleepy, remote fishing village)if they wanted to paint. I arrived about 5 AM and discovered that the wind was blowing about 40 miles per hour. I had a huge canvas to paint and had to tie everything down with bungee cords and duct tape. In all, we had 24 people from Pensacola to the Miami area who showed up for the day. We painted all morning and then broke for lunch at a local seafood restaurant. It was a great fun and a wonderful experience I will never forget. That was the beginning of Plein Air Florida, the state organization for plein air painters. David and I dreamed it up, put it together and made it happen.  It was something I am very proud of and I know he is too.

Small Paintings

I don’t have anything to do with organized plein air anymore. At one time, I was a consultant for just about every paint out that was started in Florida. In those days the paint outs were great fun and the artists were treated very well. Artists were housed and fed with no fees or expenses other than gas money. They were all invitational in those days and the art quality was very high. I was proud to be a part of those events.

 

Now, artists are charged application fees, etc and are not provided housing or meals at many  of these events. No thanks. I don’t pay to play other than commission fees on sales. I find that painting on my own time, when and where I wish to paint outside is much more satisfying. These days I use a paint box, tripod, a bottle of water and hat to paint. The box holds my canvas, 6 tubes of paint, solvent and three or four brushes for my plein air excursions. I have have simplified my process considerably, making it a calm, enjoyable experience.

 

Today’s Recipe:

Cherry Bread

This recipe is from my catering days. it is a beautiful bread and wonderful for dainty cream cheese sandwiches.

Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

sift:

four cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Mix together:

2 eggs
2 C sugar or sugar substitute for baking
1 can cherry pie filling
2 T oil

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. if more liquid is needed, add a 1/4-1/2 C milk

Divide into pans and bake until a toothpick or straw comes out clean. Yummy bread. My family loves it. It makes a particularly good chicken salad sandwich too. Refrigerate before slicing and store refrigerated.

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